99% Invisible

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99% Invisible
99% Invisible.jpg
A tiny radio show about design with Roman Mars
Presentation
Hosting Roman Mars
Genre Arts, Design, Architecture
Language English
Updates Active, weekly
Length Typically under 30 minutes
Production
Production Roman Mars, Sam Greenspan
Audio format MP3
No. of episodes 132[1]
Publication
Debut September 3, 2010
Ratings All audiences
Provider KALW, PRX
Website 99pi.org

99% Invisible is an independently produced radio show created by Roman Mars that focuses on design and architecture.[2] It began as a collaborative project between San Francisco public radio station KALW and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. Versions of the show are distributed by PRX for broadcast by a number of radio stations, and as a podcast as part of the Radiotopia network.[3]

With its name taken from a quote by Buckminster Fuller[4] where he said, "Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable", the show aims to expose the unseen and overlooked aspects of design, architecture, and activity in the world. Each episode generally focuses on a single topic or specific example of design, often including interviews with architects, experts, or people who have been influenced by the design.

As of 2014, 99% Invisible is entering its fourth season, which will be the first time it will have a weekly release schedule.[5] Producer Sam Greenspan was added to the production team, as well as additional staff members, including Avery Trufelman.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception has generally been very positive, with the show garnering acclaim from many notable radio producers and media outlets. Ira Glass of This American Life described the show as "completely wonderful and entertaining and beautifully produced",[6] and Jad Abumrad has said it "has a kind of rhythm and musicality that you don’t normally find in radio or podcast storytelling."[7] In 2013 Yahoo! News included 99% Invisible on its list of "best podcasts you aren't listening to but should be",[8] and Miranda Sawyer of The Observer highlighted the show, saying "it's just great".[9]

Host Roman Mars was included in Fast Company's Most Creative People list of 2013[10] for his work on 99% Invisible, and included on the Most Creative People in Business 1000[11] in 2014.

As of January 2014 the show is listed in the top 50 of iTunes' Top Podcasts rankings.[12] Of the over 4000 listener ratings on iTunes, upwards of 97% gave the show five stars.[13]

Guest hosts and collaborations[edit]

99% Invisible has produced a variety episodes in collabortion with other producers and radio shows. Episode 84b called "Trading Places with Planet Money" was made with NPR's Planet Money podcast and discusses commodity trading in the context of the 1983 film Trading Places. "The Political Stage", episode 63, was a collaboration with Andrea Seabrook and DecodeDC that focused on the production of campaign trail events.

List of episodes[edit]

Episode Title Date Running Time
1 "99% Noise" September 3, 2010 (2010-09-03) 4:21
Acoustic design, city soundscapes, and how to make listening in shared spaces pleasant.
2 "99% 180" September 9, 2010 (2010-09-09) 4:30
History of the perception of the Transamerica Pyramid within the architecture community.
3 "99% Reality (only)" September 17, 2010 (2010-09-17) 4:30
4 "99% Details" September 24, 2010 (2010-09-24) 4:33
5 "99% Forgotten" October 1, 2010 (2010-10-01) 4:30
6 "99% Symbolic" October 8, 2010 (2010-10-08) 4:29
7 "99% Alien" October 14, 2010 (2010-10-14) 4:30
8 "99% Free Parking" October 29, 2010 (2010-10-29) 4:51
9x "99% Doomed" November 1, 2010 (2010-11-01) 11:31
9 "99% Private" November 5, 2010 (2010-11-05) 4:29
10 "99% Sound and Feel" November 19, 2010 (2010-11-19) 4:51
11 "99% Undesigned" November 24, 2010 (2010-11-24) 4:31
12 "99% Guilt Free" December 3, 2010 (2010-12-03) 4:29
13 "Maps" December 17, 2010 (2010-12-17) 4:30
13x "Game Over (Snap Judgment)" December 30, 2010 (2010-12-30) 11:06
14 "Periodic Table" February 4, 2011 (2011-02-04) 6:00
15 "Sounds of the Artificial World" February 11, 2011 (2011-02-11) 4:51
16 "A Designed Language" February 18, 2011 (2011-02-18) 5:54
17 "Concrete Furniture" February 25, 2011 (2011-02-25) 6:33
18 "Check Cashing Stores" March 4, 2011 (2011-03-04) 5:05
19 "Liberation Squares plus NY Dick" March 11, 2011 (2011-03-11) 10:46
19x "RJDJ Reactive Music" March 21, 2011 (2011-03-21) 9:29
20 "Nikko Concrete Commando" March 25, 2011 (2011-03-25) 6:53
21 "BLDGBLOG: On Sound" April 1, 2011 (2011-04-01) 5:22
22 "Free Speech Monument" April 15, 2011 (2011-04-15) 7:32
23 "You Are Listening To + Radio Net" April 22, 2011 (2011-04-22) 19:46
24 "The Capitol Columns" May 6, 2011 (2011-05-06) 6:29
History and Status of the Original Columns of the US Capitol
25 "Unsung Icons of Soviet Design" May 13, 2011 (2011-05-13) 8:00
50's era Soviet Consumer Goods Compared to Western Goods
26 "Chicago's Jailhouse Skyscraper" May 20, 2011 (2011-05-20) 7:21
27 "Bridge to the Sky" June 3, 2011 (2011-06-03) 4:44
28 "Movie Title Sequences" June 9, 2011 (2011-06-09) 9:10
29 "Cul de Sac" June 17, 2011 (2011-06-17) 11:46
30 "The Blue Yarn" July 1, 2011 (2011-07-01) 10:19
Efficiency of a Toyota Plant Translated to American Hospitals
31 "Feltron Annual Report" July 14, 2011 (2011-07-14) 9:55
32 "Design for Airports" July 28, 2011 (2011-07-28) 8:07
33 "A Cheer for Samuel Plimsoll" August 4, 2011 (2011-08-04) 6:56
34 "The Speed of Light for Building Pyramids" August 19, 2011 (2011-08-19) 9:59
35 "Elegy for WTC" September 1, 2011 (2011-09-01) 6:21
36 "Super Bon Bonn" September 16, 2011 (2011-09-16) 9:55
37 "The Steering Wheel" September 29, 2011 (2011-09-29) 7:19
38 "Sound of Sport" October 13, 2011 (2011-10-13) 5:29
39 "Darth Vader Family Courthouse" October 28, 2011 (2011-10-28) 7:33
39x "The Biography of 100,000 Square Feet" November 18, 2011 (2011-11-18) 31:17
40 "Billy Possum" November 23, 2011 (2011-11-23) 12:05
41 "The Human-Human Interface" December 3, 2011 (2011-12-03) 5:10
42 "Recognizably Anonymous" December 9, 2011 (2011-12-09) 10:36
43 "The Accidental Music of Imperfect Escalators" December 19, 2011 (2011-12-19) 7:20
44 "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth" January 6, 2012 (2012-01-06) 11:27
45 "Immersive Ideal" January 18, 2012 (2012-01-18) 12:05
46 "Vulcanite Dentures" January 27, 2012 (2012-01-27) 9:26
47 "US Postal Service Stamps" February 10, 2012 (2012-02-10) 12:26
48 "The Bathtubs or the Boiler Room" February 27, 2012 (2012-02-27) 11:07
49 "Queue Theory and Design" March 9, 2012 (2012-03-09) 9:54
50 "DeafSpace" March 23, 2012 (2012-03-23) 11:42
51 "The Arsenal of Exclusion" April 4, 2012 (2012-04-04) 10:47
52 "Galloping Gertie" April 18, 2012 (2012-04-18) 12:27
53 "The Xanadu Effect" May 1, 2012 (2012-05-01) 11:21
54 "The Colour of Money" May 16, 2012 (2012-05-16) 16:41
55 "The Best Beer in the World" May 31, 2012 (2012-05-31) 13:21
56 "Frozen Music" June 14, 2012 (2012-06-14) 10:24
57 "What Gave You That Idea?" June 28, 2012 (2012-06-28) 14:29
58 "Purple Reign" July 13, 2012 (2012-07-13) 14:59
59 "Some Other Sign that People Do Not Totally Regret Life" July 25, 2012 (2012-07-25) 16:37
60 "Names vs The Nothing" August 6, 2012 (2012-08-06) 14:13
60a "Two Storeys" August 22, 2012 (2012-08-22) 8:36
60b "BackStory: Heyward Shepherd Memorial" September 10, 2012 (2012-09-10) 12:41
61 "A Series of Tubes" September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20) 17:25
62 "Q2" October 2, 2012 (2012-10-02) 15:18
63 "The Political Stage" October 12, 2012 (2012-10-12) 15:16
64 "Derelict Dome" October 25, 2012 (2012-10-25) 14:35
65 "Razzle Dazzle" November 5, 2012 (2012-11-05) 12:44
66 "Kowloon Walled City" November 19, 2012 (2012-11-19) 15:41
67 "Broken Window" November 29, 2012 (2012-11-29) 11:43
68 "Built for Speed" December 12, 2012 (2012-12-12) 12:35
69 "The Brief and Tumultuous Life of the New UC Logo" December 31, 2012 (2012-12-31) 24:55
70 "The Great Red Car Conspiracy" January 11, 2013 (2013-01-11) 13:47
71 "In and Out of LOVE" January 23, 2013 (2013-01-23) 16:39
72 "New Old Town" February 5, 2013 (2013-02-05) 20:35
73 "The Zanzibar and Other Building Poems" February 18, 2013 (2013-02-18) 11:59
74 "Hand Painted Signs" March 8, 2013 (2013-03-08) 12:49
75 "Secret Staircases" March 21, 2013 (2013-03-21) 11:58
The exploration of hidden public outdoor staircases in California as mapped by Charles Fleming.
76 "The Modern Moloch" April 4, 2013 (2013-04-04) 24:21
The invention of the car and the resulting rise of automobile fatalities, and how the concept of jaywalking came to be.
77 "Game Changer" April 15, 2013 (2013-04-15) 12:32
The design of the sport of basketball, from the amusing history of the basketball hoop and net to the addition of a nearly-invisible element which redefined and changed the game: the shot clock.
78 "No Armed Bandit" April 30, 2013 (2013-04-30) 19:28
The history and design of slot machines, the concept and mental state of uninterrupted play (flow), and why and how people gamble.
79 "Symphony of Sirens, Revisited" May 8, 2013 (2013-05-08) 24:28
Arseny Avraamov's "Symphony of Factory Sirens," a musical performance by the city of Moscow itself, featuring factory sirens, foghorns, soldiers' footsteps, guns, whistles, and proletarian shouts.
80 "An Architect's Code" May 28, 2013 (2013-05-28) 18:11
The ethics of designing and constructing buildings intended for solitary confinement such as Pelican Bay State Prison.
81 "Rebar and the Alvord Lake Bridge" June 7, 2013 (2013-06-07) 11:57
The invention of rebar, or steel-reinforced concrete, and its use in the Alvord Lake Bridge in Golden Gate Park.
82 "The Man of Tomorrow" June 20, 2013 (2013-06-20) 12:56
The design of Superman, and how the character has managed to stay relevant, and popular, for over 75 years.
83 "Heyoon" July 2, 2013 (2013-07-02) 28:24
A group of teenagers' secret hangout at what they called "Heyoon," a pavilion on a piece of private property in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
84a "Ladislav Sutnar" July 15, 2013 (2013-07-15) 2:26
One of Ladislav Sutnar's most important contributions to the world: the design of parenthetical area codes.
84b "Trading Places with Planet Money" July 16, 2013 (2013-07-16) 28:08
A joint episode with NPR's Planet Money on the economics of the end of the 1983 film Trading Places.
85 "Noble Effort" July 29, 2013 (2013-07-29) 17:43
Maurice Noble's work as a layout artist with Warner Brothers and his lasting impact on the art of animation.
86 "Reversal of Fortune" August 8, 2013 (2013-08-08) 20:22
Reversing the flow of the Chicago River.
87 "I Heart NY, TM" August 21, 2013 (2013-08-21) 19:44
Milton Glaser's ubiquitous I Love New York design, and its popularity, effects, and influences.
88 "The Broadcast Clock" September 3, 2013 (2013-09-03) 16:50
The use broadcast clocks—diagrams depicting specific programming element times—in radio, specifically on NPR.
89 "Bubble Houses" September 17, 2013 (2013-09-17) 25:14
Wallace Neff's airform "bubble" houses made of shotcrete.
90a "Strowger Switch" October 2, 2013 (2013-10-02) 3:45
The design of the modern telephone exchange and history of the telephone switchboard.
90b "Purple Reign Redux" October 2, 2013 (2013-10-02) 20:25
An update to Episode 58, reporting on the destruction of the Purple Hotel.
91 "Wild Ones Live" October 14, 2013 (2013-10-14) 32:52
A live performance of a segment from Jon Mooalem's book Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America, featuring music by the band Black Prairie.
91x "Kickstarter Announcment - Always Read the Plaque" October 26, 2013 (2013-10-26) 3:25
Announcement of the Kickstarter project for Season 4 of 99% Invisible and a short story about the importance of reading commemorative plaques.
92 "All The Buildings" October 28, 2013 (2013-10-28) 21:21
James Gulliver Hancock's project of drawing every building in New York City.
93 "Revolving Doors" November 6, 2013 (2013-11-06) 18:14
The history and design of revolving doors, including their energy-saving potential and reasons behind their use or lack thereof.
94 "Unbuilt" November 12, 2013 (2013-11-12) 25:39
Maps and designs of unbuilt structures and communities, from Oakland to Manhattan to the Marin Headlands.
95 "Future Screens Are Mostly Blue" November 20, 2013 (2013-11-20) 24:48
96 "DIY Space Suits" December 2, 2013 (2013-12-02) 15:44
The story of Cameron Smith's efforts to build his own space suit.
97 "Numbers Stations" December 20, 2013 (2013-12-20) 23:36
Shortwave radio stations that only broadcast numbers.
98 "Six Stories" January 2, 2014 (2014-01-02) 21:11
The history of the safety elevator and Elisha Otis.
99 "The View From The 79th Floor" January 14, 2014 (2014-01-14) 16:39
The 1945 B-25 Empire State Building crash and Betty Lou Oliver's 79-floor fall—and survival.
100 "Higher and Higher" February 3, 2014 (2014-02-03) 18:53
The origins of the Chrysler Building and the Manhattan Company Building, and the stories of their architects.
101 "Cover Story" February 11, 2014 (2014-02-11) 20:15
The long, surprising history of magazine cover design, featuring various iconic covers and design directors.
102 "Icon For Access" February 18, 2014 (2014-02-18) 16:41
A history and design of the International Symbol of Access (or Wheelchair Symbol) and a grassroots movement promoting its redesign to better serve and represent the disabled community.
103 "UTBAPH" February 25, 2014 (2014-02-25) 17:11
The architecture and history behind Pizza Hut's ever-recognizable building design and a blog dedicated to cataloguing restaurants that "Used To Be A Pizza Hut."
104 "Tunnel 57" March 4, 2014 (2014-03-04) 21:54
The story and design of a tunnel running underneath the Berlin Wall constructed by a university student and his friends, the lives it saved, and its creator.
105 "One Man Is An Island" March 11, 2014 (2014-03-11) 20:50
A story of a peculiar landmass named Busta Rhymes Island and naming conventions set by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
106 "The Fancy Shape" March 17, 2014 (2014-03-17) 17:12
107 "Call Now!" March 25, 2014 (2014-03-25) 21:04
108 "Barcodes" April 1, 2014 (2014-04-01) 19:13
109 "Title TK" April 8, 2014 (2014-04-08) 17:52
110 "Structural Integrity" April 15, 2014 (2014-04-15) 24:34
111 "Masters of the Uni-verse" April 22, 2014 (2014-04-22) 18:01
112 "Young Ruin" April 29, 2014 (2014-04-29) 20:06
113 "Monumental Dilemma" May 6, 2014 (2014-05-06) 25:06
114 "Ten Thousand Years" May 13, 2014 (2014-05-13) 30:54
115 "Cow Tunnels" May 20, 2014 (2014-05-20) 23:22
116 "Breaking the Bank" May 27, 2014 (2014-05-27) 20:45
117 "Clean Trains" June 3, 2014 (2014-06-03) 20:59
118 "Song Exploder" June 10, 2014 (2014-06-10) 20:46
119 "Feet of Engineering" June 17, 2014 (2014-06-17) 15:46
120 "Skyjacking" June 23, 2014 (2014-06-23) 16:54
121 "Cold War Kids" July 1, 2014 (2014-07-01) 23:31
122 "Good Egress" July 8, 2014 (2014-07-08) 19:26
123 "Snowflake" July 15, 2014 (2014-07-15) 18:08
124 "Longbox" July 22, 2014 (2014-07-22) 18:37
125 "Duplitecture" July 29, 2014 (2014-07-29) 12:28
126 "Walk This Way" August 4, 2014 (2014-08-04) 17:10
127 "The Sound of Sports" August 14, 2014 (2014-08-14) 61:48
128 "Hacking Ikea" August 19, 2014 (2014-08-19) 20:19
129 "Thomassons" August 26, 2014 (2014-08-26) 16:18
130 "Holdout" September 2, 2014 (2014-09-02) 18:54
131 "Genesis Object" September 10, 2014 (2014-09-10) 13:42
132 "Castle On The Park" September 16, 2014 (2014-09-16) 18:45

References[edit]

  1. ^ "99% Invisible". 99% Invisible. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "About | 99% Invisible". 99percentinvisible.org. 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  3. ^ "PRX lauches Radiotopia, new podcast network of story-driven public radio shows". Media.prx.org. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  4. ^ "Design Envy · 99% Invisible: Roman Mars". Designenvy.aiga.org. 2013-01-08. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Kickstart Season 4- Weekly! | 99% Invisible". 99percentinvisible.org. 2013-10-23. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  6. ^ "Roman Mars is 99% Invisible | Architecture". Eyes In. 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  7. ^ "Featured Podcast: 99% Invisible". Junkee. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  8. ^ "The best podcasts you aren't listening to but should be - Yahoo News". News.yahoo.com. 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  9. ^ Miranda Sawyer. "Rewind Radio: 99% Invisible | Television & radio | The Observer". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  10. ^ Feifer, Jason (2013-05-13). "63. Roman Mars | Fast Company | Business + Innovation". Fast Company. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  11. ^ "Most Creative People In Business 1000: The Complete List | Fast Company | Business + Innovation". Fast Company. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  12. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  13. ^ "iTunes - Podcasts - 99% Invisible by Roman Mars". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 

External links[edit]